ABSTRACT

The problem of incivilities seems to be considerably connected to the visibility of unsightly behaviour. Factors such as urban attractiveness and visibility of the homelessness play important roles in urban social control and have led to the sanitisation and gentrification of city centres. Visual exposure is also relevant to how people perceive and respond to crime. In times of Selfie Culture, where it seems particularly important to some people that the background of their image is beautiful and (Insta)grammable, the right to expose one’s unappetising vulnerability (e.g. homelessness) to the public may clash with others’ beliefs in their entitlement to not see anything ugly or with expectations for urban space to be ordered according to mainstream norms of aesthetic acceptability. The chapter, first, addresses the visibility of incivilities, framing the regulation of offending sights within the gaze-dependent culture. Next, it looks at the contemporary urban responses to the vulnerable groups many deem unsightly, focusing in particular on the spatial-defensive measures aimed at removing certain marginal groups, such as the homeless and youth, from urban space. It then critically examines the wider societal and normative implications of such social control. The chapter concludes with some reflections on defensive architecture within securitised society, and policy considerations.